2023 NFL Draft odds: Who will be the first tight end drafted?

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Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer are the most likely to get drafted early

There may not be a Travis Kelce or a Mark Andrews in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the importance of the tight end as a receiver and as a red-zone threat has a few teams staring at their Big Boards in hopes of finding a star. Historically, tight end is not a position high on the pecking order. In fact, there have only been seven tight ends taken in the first round since 2014.

 

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T.J. Hockenson (2019) is the most successful of a group that includes Kyle Pitts (2021), Noah Fant (2019), Hayden Hurst (2018), O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, and David Njoku (2017). Will Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer, or maybe even Darnell Washington add their names to that list?

You don’t need to worry about whether or not the player you bet is taken in the first round. You just need to pick the one to be taken first.

Odds to be the First Tight End Drafted (DraftKings)

(odds as of April 16, 10:30 a.m. PT)

  • Michael Mayer -180
  • Dalton Kincaid +145
  • Darnell Washington +1000

There are other options, like Luke Musgrave at +3500, Sam LaPorta at +6000 and then Zack Kuntz among those at +8000 or higher, but there are three contenders based on the odds. Several teams could use a tight end. The Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Chargers come to mind.

Dalton Kincaid scouting report

The Utah product has good size at 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds and has the footwork and coordination of a standout two-sport athlete. He was a star basketball player in high school and could very well be a first-round pick as a football player. Evaluations of Kincaid question his ability to be a useful run blocker at the start, but he is thought to be the best pass-catcher of this year’s TE crop. Kincaid hauled in 70 catches for 890 yards during his final season with the Utes and scored 16 touchdowns over two seasons as a starter.

Michael Mayer scouting report

Mayer could’ve had better quarterbacks throwing to him at Notre Dame, but he was still a game-changing player and one that opposing defenses had to scheme for on a weekly basis. Mayer ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds and had a solid 10-yard split of 1.66 seconds. Like Kincaid, Mayer was a star on the hardwood in high school, but played football because his brother was the quarterback at Covington Catholic in Kentucky. Where Kincaid is a little quicker and a little more precise with his routes, Mayer is less of a liability as a run blocker and could be more of a three-down tight end at the NFL level. He also had 180 receptions for 2,099 yards with the Fighting Irish in three seasons.

Darnell Washington scouting report

This is a classic case of production vs. physical tools. Washington is a monster of a human being at 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds that ran a 4.64 40-yard dash. He only caught 45 passes for 774 yards in three seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs, but he’s a large target with speed that needs somebody to help refine his technique. He probably has the most bust potential as a tight end, but possibly the highest ceiling as well, as long as he finds the right fit, which is probably an offense that uses a tall tight end a lot in the red zone.

Mock drafts favor Dalton Kincaid to be first TE drafted

Most defenses seem to be designed to stop 13 personnel because the NFL is a copycat league. Offenses line up three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back up and look to move the ball through the air that way. The return of the two-TE set is a growing trend around the league and a player like Kincaid would be a terrific receiving option in either style of offense. He’s regarded as the top receiver and route runner, which means a lot with the current state of the league.

Thor Nystrom joined VSiN Primetime recently to talk about his feelings on the first TE drafted market and why Kincaid is a good bet.

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